TikTokers slammed for teaching in Thai schools ‘without qualifications’

Images: Lilykelsey_1 / TikTok
Images: Lilykelsey_1 / TikTok

Two foreign teachers have invited criticism for bragging about working at a public Thai school without any qualifications on TikTok.

Posts featuring the teachers celebrating their gainful employment “without qualifications” were quickly inundated with comments questioning their suitability as instructors with some calling for authorities to investigate. 

“Being able to speak English doesn’t mean you can teach English,” wrote one commenter. 

“And that’s how you lose your job,” wrote another.

In the video posted under the name Lily Kelsey, which has since been removed, the women did what seemed a mocking dance.

“You guys can’t just travel forever, when are you gonna go uni or get a job?” read the first of two captions.

“Us in a random town in Thailand teaching kids with no qualifications,” read the second.

It was unclear when the video had been posted.

The video went viral when it was reposted to Twitter by Lalalunable last night in a tweet, er X, that was shared more than 35,000 times.

One person questioned whether the women had General Certificates of Secondary Education, a requirement to teach in public schools.

Kelsey quickly issued a defiant response according to screenshots from the original post.

“I’m making a difference to children’s lives so yeah I will continue,” she responded.

In a subsequent post the women were seen posing with smiling police officers. One of them sneers at the camera, while the other is throwing the horns.

Attempts to reach the deactivated account were impossible.

The women had previously disclosed that they had been compesnated GBP900 (US$1,100) for their flights as well as food and accommodation.

A number of comments pointed out that it was unfair that qualified Thai teachers continue to earn less than foreign instructors. Others blame the schools for not running background checks.

“Thai people are so enthusiastic about learning English with native speakers,” Jbmtyiboxiaogon tweeted. “And most of the foreign language teachers who come to teach in Thailand didn’t actually finish their own studies (not all of them). They just use English because they were born with it, and then they live in Thailand, obsessed with accents.”

Adam Pavlakovich, who runs a network of foreign instructors, said that its the employment agencies that are to blame.

“This isn’t the school‘s fault, it’s the agencies’ fault,” he told Coconuts. “A lot of the agencies in Thailand not only deduct the salaries from the teachers unfairly, but they employ a lot of people that don’t have degrees or are qualified and they falsify documents for them.” 

Teaching jobs in Thailand require English teachers to hold a Bachelor’s degree. Non-degree holders require Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate and can volunteer to gain classroom experience in order to maximize employability.

Schools hiring foreigners without any qualifications is nothing new. Thailand is ranked 97th overall and second to last among its ASEAN neighbors in an assessment looking at the average English proficiency in 111 different countries and regions.

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